Podcast news

So, tonight nine episodes went live.

This is deliberate. I wanted to push as much material out so people had something to have a look at while the whole Corona thing was going on.

The notes aren't up on the blog. Transcripts in the next couple of days, and stats...whenever?

I know the wise thing would have been to keep the 14 episodes (I think?) that went live this week in the can and either do them one a week, or at least one a day, but...why not? At worst I'll do a chapter of The King of Elfland';s Daughter a week, and it has thirty chapters. 8)


I listened to a few of them on my way to work (post office work is always going to be essential) and I really enjoyed the Masks episode. I also really enjoyed the earlier episode with the poem about Helen of Troy; I may try to work a Helen into the saga I’m running.

Thanks for making this podcast. It’s definitely the work that best made me love the potential of Ars Magica; and, I wouldn’t have this amazing, entertaining saga without it.

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ooh which episode is helen in? (I have never figured out how to listen to podcasts, so this might be the push I finally need)


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A poem about her is in the Teasdale 2 episode, which is number 228.

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The transcripts (no stats) for the nine new episodes are now up.

I started my recording for Librivox about Venice - the author has a slightly upsetting fixation on Venetian women. That being said, there are two items for shape and material bonuses already. That'll all come out eventually.

A new version of the Cornwall websupplement I put together is now up:

140 pages of free Ars material.

If I were doing it for Atlas I'd be a bit more terse with the folk stories, but you aren't paying by the page, so I've left some of them in. 8)

Note this works perfectly well with the Vanilla Covenant material David is offering over at Download "A Vanilla Covenant" in its last and ultimate version so that's another 52 pages of material. It is set directly north of Cornwall in the Bristol Channel. If you add in the Half-rembered monsters over at https://timothyferguson.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/half-remembered-monsters-1.pdf for another 81 pages, you've basically got a book, and all of it has come out this month. A covenant for beginners, a gazetter for your immediate region and a pile of weird monsters. It's almost like a newbie saga starter pack, and it's all free.

Thanks again to the paetrons of the podcast, and the people who collaborated on Vanilla Covenant.


Eight more little episodes went live tonight. Actually two of them are a bit substantial, in terms of time. One describes the mundane powers around Venice. The other is a short story from the 1920s which shows how Demoniacal Oppression would work in real life.

The other six are poems. One is meant to be origin material for a Spirit I'll stat up eventually. The rest are little sea poems you could use as plot hooks, by playing the episode to the players.

The things I didn't cover tonight and will come back to, and that may have been mentioned in the others:

  • Nerida: an odd succubus that pretends to be a water nymph that pretends to be a dead girl, needs a bit more writing. Her stats are pretty straightforward, but she's an odd one.
  • When I said the next episode was about a wand alternative for female magi in Venice, I meant the next Venice episode. 8)

Coming up:

  • March Evening has an odd creature that could be several different types of thing, so it'll take time to write up. I could just release the poem, but I'd like to think it through more first.

  • The New Pleasure is the second piece I've used by Khalil Gibrain. When a magus invents an entirely new way of thinking, an angel and a demon fight over if it is a virtue or a vice.

Love the Venice material and it’s led me to some questions. Venice magas use fans instead of wands. But most magi in Venice are not local; they are visiting their covenant’s local townhouse from their covenant’s actual location elsewhere in the tribunal. It seems unlikely a maga will make a fan for her talisman just to blend in on her occasional Venice visits.

Are there enough local magas to make this tradition visible? How many covnenants are wholly based in the city, do you think? Or, perhaps the political weight of Venice has led magas throughout the tribunal to make fan talismans, simply because that’s fashionable?

Venice, in some of the earlier editions, had chapter houses from multiple covenants and tribunals, permanently staffed. It was really hard to explain why this should be, actually, because in 1187 Venice is not the sort of place you'd expect magi to congregate. Constantinople would have been a better choice. That being said, 2nd edition had all kinds of problems with geography, so we'll make do with what we have.

To some degree I may need to cut my cloth to fit my needs here, much as if you are playing a game with a lot of mystery cults you need a bigger Order. So, yes, that the fashion has become widespread in Italy works for me. Also, I'd like some sort of sense that the faerie aura of the place makes something like a fan easier to enchant than a spindle, but I need to think that through. That is, the penalties and bonuses for spellcasting / enchantment may bend to a Local Law, which pushes the magi to fit in more.

I've not yet recorded the next chapter, but here's a quick spoiler / idea. When Venice was first beseiged, the ropes of their siege engines wore out fighting off the (Goths? Huns? need to check) so the women of Venice cut their hair, and used ropes of their hair in their catapaults*.

This cutting of the hair is a sacrifice, like the fingers and eyes we see in the Norse magicians, and having it as the tension element in a projectile weapon ties us again to the bow of Diana, which has been turning up with surprising regularity. There's also a sort of knight's favour aspect to locks of hair. Basically, thought, I can see player characters using lengths of their own hair to make the strings for their crossbows.*

  • Yes, I know that's physically impossible.

It's rare to find more than one monster in a poem, but I am fortunate to have just found four. (The prose poem is "Levana and the Ladies of Sorrow") by Thomas de Quincey.

As noted, I went wild in the start of the lockdown, letting all of my recorded episodes loose in a single week. Time to rebuild some depth in the roster. The future episodes look like this. Stars indicate stats.

J11 : The horological demon of Jules Verne.*
J18: Precious stones (Moonstone, Onyx, Opal)
J25 Venice : The First Doge
J2 : Ladies of Sorrow - Levana*
J9 Precious Stones (Haematite, Jacinth, Jasper)
J16 A Night in March - poem
J30 - The weapon of the urban Dianic cult
A6: Ladies of Sorrow - the Mother of Tears*
A13 Precious stones - Lapis Lazuli
A27: Venice : In which we find the hidden forest
S3: Ladies of Sorrow - The Mother of Sighs*
S10 Precious Stones - Rock Crystal and Ruby
S24 Venice - The Translation of San Marco
O1: Ladies of Sorrow: The Mother of Darkness*
O8: Precious Stones - Sapphire
O29: Venice - the Customs of Romance
N5 TBA- if I don't find another creature it will be the Horla
N12 Precious Stones - Serpentine and Topaz
N26: Venice - Another Lovestruck Romeo

Currently Episode 300 will be 31 December. Hopefully it will be a new version of Half-Remembered Monsters. At some point I want to do "The Erl-king's daughter" by Dunsany, but it is 30 chapters long, so I'm not sure how to do it without it swamping the blog or taking years.

As always, suggestions for episodes gratefully received.

I've decided to not divide the four cthonic goddesses. .This week's story has all 4 cthonic goddesses in it. They are not statted yet: I hope to do them once per month.

J23 was something I was working up for Magonomia, but I'll post here. It's about the provenance of toadstones and their uses in toading, which is a sort of traditional folk magic in the northeast of England. It does lead me to have to think about if posts for Magonomia (once the game is delivered in May next year) should be in the main GFF feed as a "column" of one episode per month, or if I should split them off to a separate feed and site. Thoughts very welcome.

Also, are people enjoying Venice? It's numbers are not great, but I think the material is solid. Libsyn says that everyone's numbers are down because of the lack of commuting in the US at the moment. Thoughts welcome.


The Venice stuff is my favorite part of the show!

Wait, Magonomia is happening? I heard the kickstarter failed and I assumed it wasn't coming out. If it is, is there any way I can financially support it?

It funded on the second try.

The publisher is over at https://shewstonepublishing.com/

See their contact info.

It's the main bit I've written ATM, so discarding it would be hard.

Next time, I tell you where they hid the faeriie forest. It rocks. (Written later - no, I'm ahead of myself. Next time is the sacred weapon of the urban Dianic alchemist cult)

The idea to do a Magonomia column comes out of the Venice source I'm using. It goes up to the fall of the Republic under Napoleon. So, it might be Ars until 1500 and then Magonomia after.

I feel like the Weapon of the Urban Diana cult episode perfectly encapsulates Ars Magica's strengths, where folklore fuels stories.

I'm inordinately pleased with the idea of it.

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Hi, you'll see the episodes go out of order a little this month. Basically it's a RL sickness problem.

I still have six episodes set up, but they are all on curious stones or Venice, so I don't want them all to come out together.

Also, my idea for a Magonomia column? Libsyn suggests I split it off into a separate feed. I'll need to think about it a little more.

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The last six months of transcripts went up this week.

I just had a chat with CJ via Zoom and he pointed out that I never tell anyone where the Paetreon is. That's quite silly of me....I must start doing that. It's probably against Atlas's site rules to direct link though, so...I'm Timothy Ferguson on Patreon.

So, onto GFF news:

I'm working on the transcripts for September-October now. Likely up this weekend.

The podcast costs about USD10 to host a month, and for a little while I've been getting USD18, so this month I was able to kick things up to the USD30 level with my podcast host and rebuild my episode depth.

So far the following have been loaded to auto-broadcast. I've not statted the monsters yet. For those of you wanting chunkier episodes: The King of Elfland's Daughter and Pentamerone episodes are about half an hour long. I won't be able to do this every month at the moment, so episodes will still often be 5-10 minutes otherwise.

Nov 19 Walter de la Mare 6 (I'm doing these in bunches because they are too short as solo poems. This is the last one in this series. It gets replaced by Pentamerone.)
Nov 26 Venice - The Banshee
Dec 03 The Cormorants of Andaver (A short story with a folk tradition of witchcraft)
Dec 10 The King of Elfland's Daughter 3
Dec 31 Pentamerone 1* (Fifty Italian Faerie Tales cut into useful chunks)
Jan 14 The King of Elfland's Daughter 4
Jan 21 Pentamerone 2*
Feb 11 The King of Elfland's Daughter 5
Mar 11 The King of Elfland's Daughter 6

  • I have loaded Pentamerone episodes, but they are based on the Taylor translation since it is out of copyright. It's been heavily bowlderised: for example 18 of the 50 tales have been left out entirely and the others have been made more child friendly. I'm going to revisit it using the modern Canepa translation and I might make little supplementary recordings to follow directly on the ones here, with my summary of the juicy stuff Taylor carved out.

In terms of current planning, if I get my act together episode 300 will be Dec 24, and will be stats for the backlog of monsters. The backlog will blow out incredibly, because by writing longer episodes, I mention more things which could be statted. At my old rate, which was one monster a month, I have enough to keep me going until 2025 now. 8)

The episode for Dec 17 is a biography of Teodroa Selvo, who is central to the Venice setting I'm building (she's the Rotting Princess that gets aided by something claiming to be Tytalus). The more I write this though, the less I need to go high fantasy. It turns out there were several female alchemists who wrote books in Venice at just after the period, and I'm looking to get a translation sent to me one interlibrary loan starts up again.

The transcripts for Sep/Oct/Nov/Dec are up.

Yes, I know I said December - I've scripted that far in advance. Monsters not yet done, but I'm going to find a new way to get some done.